Guyana protests Canadian High Commission alleged complicity in attempted toppling of gov’t

Last Updated on Friday, 11 January 2019, 9:38 by Denis Chabrol

Canada’s High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee

The Foreign Ministry has lodged a blistering protest with Canada over the alleged complicity by its High Commission in Guyana in an attempt to  topple the David Granger-led administration after its diplomatic security officer accompanied former government parliamentarian Charrandas Persaud to a waiting plane hours after he voted to pass an opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion.

“The evidence suggests that the High Commission and by extension, the sending State, are complicit in an attempt to overthrow a sitting government which was democratically elected,” states the diplomatic note to the Canadian Embassy here.

Second Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge

Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Audrey Jardine Waddell told Demerara Waves Online News on Friday that “there are some issues in terms of protocol arrangements and there is where we are now in terms of violation of protocol”.

Peter Ramsaroop seated immediately behind Charrandas Persaud (Keno George photo)

Canada’s High Commission to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee confirmed that she met with Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge on Wednesday, but declined to speak on consular matters.

Police Commissioner, Leslie James would only say investigators were probing a “matter of national security” in connection with Persaud who has since been recalled from the National Assembly and expelled from the Alliance For Change (AFC) party.

Persaud, also a Canadian citizen, fled to Canada on December 22, 2018, hours after voting for the no-confidence motion filed by Opposition Leader and People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo.

It was Persaud’s vote that secured the motion’s passage by a slim majority of 33 to 32 in the 65-member Parliament, a move that could see Guyanese going back to the polls almost one year earlier. Persaud’s vote is being challenged in the High Court on grounds of numerical accuracy and his eligibility, as a foreigner, to be a candidate and be a parliamentarian.

The Foreign Ministry told Canada “it is the view of the Guyana government that this unilateral act is a violation of the Geneva Convention and on diplomatic and consular relations.”

The Foreign Ministry added that it was “unaware of any consular functions” which the Canadian High Commission’s Security Officer, Richard Beliveau was performing on December 22 and that it was also “unaware of any threat made on the person of Charrandas Persaud that would require Mr. Beliveau to exert consular protection”

The Eugene F. Correia International Airport has since confirmed that Beliveau and PPP member Peter Ramsaroop had obtained protocol passes to accompany Persaud to a Barbados-bound flight with connections to Canada.

Persaud and Ramsaroop have also confirmed that protection was needed for Persaud because he had feared for his life.